Italy’s Lippi happy, but concern over keeper Buffon

Cape Town: Italy’s coach Marcello Lippi said world champions Italy had played well in Monday’s disappointing 1-1 draw against Paraguay, but his happiness was tempered by an injury to goalkeeper Gialuigi Buffon.

Buffon, Italy’s first choice keeper, was replaced at halftime after aggravating a back twinge he felt earlier during the warm-up in the rain where temperatures averaged about 8 degrees celcius.

“He had a bit of a problem in his back. He had a back ache during the warm-up -- already it started to manifest itself,” Lippi said after the match.

“The doctors will have to say (if he’ll be back for the next game).”

The Juventus goalkeeper, rated one of the best in the world, was replaced by Frederico Marchetti at halftime with Paraguay leading 1-0 thanks to a headed goal by Antolin Alcaraz.

Lippi’s side laboured, with key creative midfielder Andrea Pirlo absent through injury who is only expected to return for the third group game.

Despite a shot-shy performance and lack of penetration, the coach was pleased with his team’s display.

“I’m very satisfied with our performance. I’m very statisfied with the approach to the world cup ... our opponent was described as being a very fierce opponent so I’m very happy,” he said.

He said Italy had created the most opportunities in the game while denying Paraguay any clear cut chances in the second half.

“The only thing I regret is normally matches of this type we win,” he said.

Bureau Report

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